Court of Appeals Opinions

Format: 04/18/2019
Format: 04/18/2019
Steven Williams v. Gateway Medical Center, Et Al. - Concurring In Part and Dissenting In Part
M2018-00939-COA-R3-CV
Authoring Judge: Judge Thomas R. Frierson, II
Trial Court Judge: Judge Ross H. HIcks

I concur fully in this Court’s affirmance of the dismissal of Mr. Williams’s claims based on his failure to substantially comply with the requirements of Tennessee Code Annotated § 29-26-121(a)(2)(E). I write separately solely to express my opinion that prior precedent from this Court would mandate dismissal not only for Mr. Williams’s failure to describe the records to be disclosed on his medical authorization form but for the omission of an expiration date as well.

Montgomery County Court of Appeals 04/18/19
Steven Williams v. Gateway Medical Center, Et Al. - Concurring In Part and Dissenting In Part
M2018-00939-COA-R3-CV
Authoring Judge: Judge Richard H. Dinkins
Trial Court Judge: Judge Ross H. Hicks

I concur in the result of the majority’s opinion insofar as it affirms the dismissal of the action on the basis, set forth in Section V, that Dr. Johnson was not an employee of Gateway Medical Center and, consequently, did not have access to Ms. Williams’ medical record. I concur with the holding in Section IV A that the omission of an expiration date on the HIPPA authorization was insignificant and did not keep the form from being substantially compliant with Tennessee Code Annotated section 29-26-121(a)(2)(E). I respectfully disagree with the holding in Section IV B that the failure of Mr. Williams to check the box to authorize access to specific medical records makes the authorization non-compliant. In my opinion, the purpose of the authorization form is to allow the recipient to receive the records pertinent to the case, thus serving as a bypass to the normal procedures for discovery governed by the Tennessee Rules of Civil Procedure. Consistent with the letter and spirit of the discovery rules, any deficiency in the authorization forms that limit the recipient’s ability to obtain the pertinent records should be addressed in accordance with Rule 26.       

Montgomery County Court of Appeals 04/18/19
Steven Williams v. Gateway Medical Center, Et Al.
M2018-00939-COA-R3-CV
Authoring Judge: Judge Andy D. Bennett
Trial Court Judge: Jude Ross H. Hicks

In this health care liability action, the trial court dismissed the plaintiff’s claims for failure to substantially comply with the requirements of Tenn. Code Ann. § 29-26-121(a)(2)(E) upon determining that the plaintiff’s pre-suit notice failed to include a HIPAA-compliant medical records authorization. The trial court found that the medical records authorizations provided by the plaintiff failed to include a “[d]escription of information to be used or disclosed” and an expiration date. The trial court further determined that these deficiencies prejudiced the defendants from mounting a defense because they were unable to obtain the relevant medical records. As a result, the plaintiff’s claims were dismissed without prejudice. The plaintiff timely appealed. We consider the plaintiff’s omission of an expiration date insignificant. The HIPAA form provided by the plaintiff failed to substantially comply with the statute because it did not include a description of the information to be used or disclosed, thereby causing prejudice to the defendants. We, therefore, affirm the trial court’s dismissal of the plaintiff’s claims.  

Montgomery County Court of Appeals 04/18/19
In Re: Jaxx M.
E2018-01041-COA-R3-PT
Authoring Judge: Judge J. Steven Stafford, P.J., W.S.
Trial Court Judge: Judge Frank V. Williams, III

This appeal involves the termination of a mother’s parental rights to her son. The trial court found that all grounds alleged in the petition had been proven and that termination was in the best interest of the child. We reverse the trial court’s ruling as to two grounds for termination but otherwise affirm the order terminating Mother’s parental rights.

Roane County Court of Appeals 04/17/19
Citizens Tri-County Bank v. Russell R. Goodman, ET Al.
M2018-00958-COA-R3-CV
Authoring Judge: Judge Arnold B. Goldin
Trial Court Judge: Judge Jeffrey F. Stewart

This appeal involves a boundary dispute. Following a trial in the Grundy County Chancery Court, the chancellor held that the boundary between the parties would be the boundary depicted on a survey introduced by the Defendants. Having reviewed the record transmitted to us on appeal, we affirm.

Grundy County Court of Appeals 04/17/19
Dayle Ward, Et Al. v. Metropolitan Government Of Nashville And Davidson County, Tennessee, Et Al.
M2018-00633-COA-R3-CV
Authoring Judge: Judge Richard H. Dinkins
Trial Court Judge: Chancellor Claudia Bonnyman

In this certiorari review of a decision of the Board of Zoning Appeals of the Metropolitan Government of Nashville and Davidson County, the Appellants challenge the Board’s grant, as authorized by ordinance and state and federal law, of an accommodation from the zoning requirements applicable to property owned by a church, on which it sought to build 22 micro-homes to house the homeless. Appellants argue that the development should be subject to the zoning laws and procedures because the development would be constructed, owned, and operated by a lessee of the property that was not a religious institution or assembly or otherwise exercising religion and, consequently, applying the zoning laws to the development would not adversely affect the church’s exercise of religion. The Appellants also argue that the project did not meet the standards for the accommodation set by the state and federal laws. The trial court upheld the decision of the Board. Upon our review, we conclude that material evidence supports the Board’s decision and that the decision is not contrary to law, and is not arbitrary or capricious; accordingly, we affirm the judgment of the trial court.

Davidson County Court of Appeals 04/17/19
Kerry Gray v. Saint Francis Hospital-Bartlett, Inc. a/k/a Tenet HealthSystem Bartlett, Inc., et al.
W2018-00836-COA-R9-CV
Authoring Judge: Presiding Judge Frank G. Clement, Jr.
Trial Court Judge: Judge Robert Samual Weiss

This Tenn. R. App. P. 9 appeal arises from a wrongful death, healthcare liability action filed by the plaintiff on behalf of his deceased wife and her heirs-at-law against two hospitals and numerous healthcare providers. The dispositive issue is whether the pre-suit notices and HIPAA releases the plaintiff sent to one set of healthcare providers on December 17, 2015, and the separate pre-suit notices and HIPAA releases the plaintiff sent to a different set of healthcare providers on December 22, 2015, substantially complied with Tennessee Code Annotated § 29-26-121(a)(2)(D) and (E). If so, the commencement of the initial action in 2015 as to both sets of healthcare providers and the refiling of the action in 2017 pursuant to Tennessee’s saving statute were both timely. If not, the plaintiff’s claims as to all defendants are barred by the statute of limitations. The plaintiff’s now-deceased wife had outpatient hernia surgery at Saint Francis Hospital-Bartlett, Inc. (“St. Francis”). Five days later, she was admitted to Methodist Hospital University (“Methodist”) following several days of altered mental status with auditory and visual hallucinations where she was examined, treated, and released only to return to Methodist three days later. Following an exploratory laparotomy and other examinations and treatments, she died at Methodist a week later. The plaintiff timely sent pre-suit notices to the St. Francis providers; however, the notices only identified the St. Francis providers as potential defendants and provided HIPAA authorizations that allowed the St. Francis providers to obtain medical records, but only from the other St. Francis providers. Moreover, the pre-suit notices did not identify any Methodist providers as potential defendants. Five days later, the plaintiff sent pre-suit notices to numerous Methodist providers, which only identified the Methodist providers as potential defendants and which provided HIPAA authorizations that allowed the Methodist providers to obtain medical records, but only from the other Methodist providers. Thereafter, and relying on the 120-day extension of the statute of limitations available under § 121(c), the plaintiff filed a single wrongful death, healthcare liability action naming both hospitals and all of the healthcare providers as co-defendants. The defendants filed Tenn. R. Civ. P. 12.02(6) motions to dismiss, arguing that the plaintiff was not entitled to rely on the 120-day extension because he did not substantially comply with the pre-suit notice requirements of § 121(a)(2)(D) and (E). Before the trial court could rule on the motion, the plaintiff voluntarily dismissed his action. Then, relying on Tennessee Code Annotated § 28-1-105(a), Tennessee’s saving statute, the plaintiff refiled the action. The defendants responded by filing Rule 12.02(6) motions to dismiss, arguing that the original action and the refiled action were both time-barred because the plaintiff failed to substantially comply with § 121(a)(2)(D) and (E) prior to commencing the original action. The trial court denied the motion, ruling that the plaintiff substantially complied with the pre-suit notice statute in the original action and was thus entitled to rely on the extension under § 121(c). This Tenn. R. App. P. 9 interlocutory appeal followed. Having determined that the plaintiff did not substantially comply with the pre-suit notice requirements of § 121, we reverse and remand with instructions to dismiss all claims as barred by the statute of limitations.

Shelby County Court of Appeals 04/16/19
State, ex rel., Department of Transportation v. William H. Thomas, Jr.
W2018-01541-COA-R10-CV
Authoring Judge: Presiding Judge J. Steven Stafford
Trial Court Judge: Judge Walter L. Evans

The trial court reinstated its previous ruling that had been reversed on appeal because a “change in the controlling law” occurred that justified departure from the law of the case doctrine. Because we conclude that no change in controlling law occurred to allow the trial court to avoid application of the law of the case doctrine, we reverse the order of the trial court and remand for further proceedings before a different trial judge.

Shelby County Court of Appeals 04/15/19
Chris Whitney v. First Call Ambulance Service, Et Al.
M2018-01155-COA-R3-CV
Authoring Judge: Judge Arnold B. Goldin
Trial Court Judge: Judge Thomas W. Brothers

This is an appeal from the trial court’s grant of summary judgment dismissing a plaintiff-employee’s THRA and TPPA claims against two separate corporate entities—both of which the employee claimed were his employer. As to the employee’s THRA claim, the trial court found that the evidence of harassment and discriminatory conduct was not so severe or pervasive so as to establish a hostile work environment. As to the employee’s TPPA claim, the trial court found that the employer had a valid, non-discriminatory reason for termination. Additionally, the trial court found that the employee failed to establish that one of the entities was his employer for purpose of liability under either the THRA or the TPPA. Finding that the employee presented sufficient evidence to raise a genuine issue of disputed material fact as to both his THRA and TPPA claims against both entities, we vacate the trial court’s order and remand the case to the trial court.

Davidson County Court of Appeals 04/15/19
Patricia Gay Patterson Lattimore v. James S. Lattimore, Jr.
M2018-00557-COA-R3-CV
Authoring Judge: Judge Thomas R. Frierson, II
Trial Court Judge: Judge Michael W. Binkley

This appeal arises from a post-divorce proceeding wherein the wife filed a petition requesting that the trial court hold the husband in civil contempt due to his noncompliance with the alimony provision in the parties’ marital dissolution agreement (“MDA”) and enter a judgment in favor of the wife representing the alimony arrearage and statutory interest. Following a bench trial, the trial court dismissed the wife’s petition without entering a monetary judgment against the husband, upon finding that although the husband had violated the alimony provision of the MDA, his failure to pay was not willful. The trial court also denied the wife’s request for attorney’s fees. Having determined that the evidence preponderates against the trial court’s finding, we conclude that the husband’s failure to comply with the alimony provision was willful. Upon further determination that the trial court erred in dismissing the wife’s petition for civil contempt and a monetary award, we reverse.

Williamson County Court of Appeals 04/12/19
David Miolen Et Al. v. Doug Saffles Et Al.
E2018-00849-COA-R3-CV
Authoring Judge: Judge Charles D. Susano, Jr.
Trial Court Judge: Judge Lawrence H. Puckett

Plaintiffs David Miolen and Ann Miolen, husband and wife, hired contractor Doug Saffles to install, on the backyard of the plaintiffs' property, a pool, additional water features, a bathhouse, outdoor kitchen and fireplace, and a large amount of stone pavers and stairs. Because their home was on a sloping hillside, the work involved moving a lot of earth and building two retaining walls to support the project. When the work was about 90% done, plaintiffs became dissatisfied and ordered defendant off the site. They sued him for breach of contract, negligence in failing to perform in a good and workmanlike manner, misrepresentation, and violation of the Tennessee Consumer Protection Act, Tenn. Code Ann. § 47-18-101 et seq. (Supp. 2018). Defendant counterclaimed for unpaid work. The trial court held that defendant violated the TCPA by misrepresenting that both walls had been engineered by a professional engineer, and by charging plaintiffs $10,000 in "engineering" expenses that were not incurred by an engineer. The court awarded plaintiffs $68,974 in compensatory damages and assessed treble damages for the TCPA violation, plus plaintiffs' costs and attorney's fees. The total amount of $232,285.31 was offset by a judgment in defendant's favor on his counterclaim in the amount of $12,061.75. As calculated in our opinion, the net award to plaintiffs is reduced to $127,727.56. The trial court's judgment, as modified, is affirmed.

Bradley County Court of Appeals 04/12/19
David New v. Lavinia Dumitrache, et al.
W2017-00776-COA-R3-CV
Authoring Judge: Judge W. Neal McBrayer
Trial Court Judge: Chancellor JoeDae L. Jenkins

A general sessions court issued orders of protection for a mother and her child against the mother’s ex-husband, who was the child’s father. Thirty-six days after the final order was entered, the father filed suit in chancery court, essentially seeking to enroll the mother’s and the father’s Texas divorce decree and to appeal the orders of protection. On the mother’s motion, the chancery court dismissed the suit in its entirety for lack of subject matter jurisdiction. The mother then moved to alter or amend, seeking an award of attorney’s fees and discretionary costs incurred in defending the action. The chancery court granted the motion and awarded the mother attorney’s fees and costs. On appeal, the father challenges only the award of attorney’s fees. We conclude that the court did possess subject matter jurisdiction to award attorney’s fees. But because the father was not permitted to put on proof concerning the reasonableness of the fees incurred by the mother, we vacate the award of attorney’s fees.

Shelby County Court of Appeals 04/12/19
Rashell Holt, Et Al. v. John Robert Whedbee, Et Al.
E2018-01244-COA-R3-CV
Authoring Judge: Judge D. Michael Swiney, C.J.
Trial Court Judge: Judge Clarence E. Pridemore, Jr.

This appeal concerns an alleged breach of contract. Patsy Yearwood (“Decedent”), an insurance agent with John Robert Whedbee and James L. Whedbee at the Whedbee Insurance Agency (“Defendants”), entered into an agreement (“the Agreement”) with Defendants whereby Defendants would buy all of Decedent’s contracts of insurance and expirations and renewals. For a set period of time, Decedent would receive 50% of her commissions and renewals and Defendants were to receive the other 50%. Decedent, in declining health, was to assist in retaining and producing business. Upon Decedent’s death, her commissions were to go to her estate. Decedent died and three months later, Defendants halted payments. Decedent’s daughter RaShell Holt, individually and as Executrix of the Estate of Patsy Yearwood (“Plaintiff”), sued Defendants in the Chancery Court for Knox County (“the Trial Court”). Defendants filed a motion for summary judgment, which the Trial Court granted on the basis that Decedent first breached the Agreement by not working in the period leading up to her death. Plaintiff appealed. We find and hold that there is a genuine issue of material fact as to whether Decedent breached the Agreement by ceasing to work. We hold further that, even if Decedent stopped working, this in itself was not a breach of contract because her sickness and death were anticipated in the Agreement. We hold further still that, even if Decedent breached the Agreement, Defendants were not entitled to continue receiving all the benefits of the Agreement while denying the estate its benefits. We reverse the judgment of the Trial Court.

Knox County Court of Appeals 04/12/19
Paul McMillin v. Realty Executives Associates, Inc., Et Al.
E2018-00769-COA-R3-CV
Authoring Judge: Judge D. Michael Swiney, C.J.
Trial Court Judge: Judge Kristi M. Davis

Paul McMillin (“Plaintiff”) appeals the April 11, 2018 order of the Circuit Court for Knox County (“the Trial Court”) finding Plaintiff in violation of Tenn. R. Civ. P. 11 and awarding $19,983.94 in sanctions to be paid to the attorney for Realty Executives Associates, Inc. and Tammy Garber (“Defendants”). Plaintiff raises issues regarding the Trial Court’s grant of summary judgment to Defendants and the Trial Court’s grant of sanctions. We find and hold that Plaintiff waived his issues with regard to the grant of summary judgment. We further find and hold that the Trial Court did not err in finding Plaintiff in violation of Tenn. R. Civ. P. 11 and awarding sanctions. We, therefore, affirm.

Knox County Court of Appeals 04/12/19
Barry L. Clark v. Mark Gwyn Et Al.
M2018-00655-COA-R3-CV
Authoring Judge: Judge Andy D. Bennett
Trial Court Judge: Chancellor Claudia Bonnyman

The petitioner was convicted of multiple sexual offenses in Maryland in 1981. Several years after completing his sentence for these convictions, he was incarcerated in Pennsylvania for a different crime. While serving his sentence in Pennsylvania, he received interstate transfer of parole to Tennessee. Thereafter, the petitioner was informed that he must register as a sexual offender in Tennessee. He registered in 2011 and, in 2016, sent the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation (“TBI”) a letter requesting termination of his registration. After the TBI denied his request, the petitioner filed a petition for judicial review in the chancery court. The chancery court affirmed the TBI’s denial of the petitioner’s request, and the petitioner appeals. Finding no error in the chancery court’s decision, we affirm.        

Davidson County Court of Appeals 04/11/19
Rose Mary Thompson v. Robert Boyd
E2018-01098-COA-R3-CV
Authoring Judge: Judge Andy D. Bennett
Trial Court Judge: Judge Kristi M. Davis

homeowner and a contractor entered into a contract requiring the contractor to repair damage to the homeowner’s house caused by a kitchen fire. The repairs to be performed were those covered by the homeowner’s insurance policy as outlined in a detailed estimate of repair work. After the contractor abandoned the project, the homeowner hired another contractor to complete the work and sued the original contractor for breach of contract. We affirm the decision of the trial court to the extent of the court’s determination that the contractor breached the contract by his undue delay and poor workmanship. We have concluded, however, that the trial court’s decision fails to adequately explain the award of damages or to dispose of the contractor’s counterclaim. Therefore, we vacate the damages award and remand for more specific findings regarding the basis for the damages award and a disposition of the counterclaim.

Knox County Court of Appeals 04/09/19
Kermit George Parker v. Sherry Elizabeth Parker
E2018-00643-COA-R3-CV
Authoring Judge: Judge Andy D. Bennett
Trial Court Judge: Judge J. Michael Sharp

A husband and wife were divorced after being married for nineteen years. The trial court divided the marital estate and awarded the wife alimony in futuro. The husband appealed, claiming the trial court erred in classifying a camper as marital property and in awarding the wife long-term spousal support. We affirm the trial court’s judgment and award the wife her reasonable attorney’s fees incurred on appeal.

Bradley County Court of Appeals 04/09/19
Bobby K. Watson v. Matthew T. Watson et al.
E2019-004270COA-T10B-CV
Authoring Judge: Judge Thomas R. Frierson, II
Trial Court Judge: Judge J. Michael Sharp

This is an interlocutory appeal as of right, pursuant to Tennessee Supreme Court Rule 10B, arising from an appeal filed by the plaintiff to the Monroe County Circuit Court (“trial court”) from a judgment of the Monroe County General Sessions Court (“general sessions court”), granting the defendants immediate possession of certain contested property located in Madisonville, Tennessee. The plaintiff challenges both the January 8, 2019 trial court order, which denied his initial and supplemental motions seeking judicial recusal of the trial court judge, and the subsequent order, which denied his motion to alter or amend the January 8, 2019 order. Having carefully reviewed the petition for recusal appeal (“the Petition”), together with the challenged orders, we conclude that the Petition was not timely filed and accordingly dismiss this appeal.

Monroe County Court of Appeals 04/09/19
KMI Group, Inc., et al. v. Wade Acres, LLC, et al.
W2018-00301-COA-R3-CV
Authoring Judge: Judge Richard H. Dinkins
Trial Court Judge: Judge Jeff Parham

In this action to recover for property damage sustained as a result of flooding and seeking injunctive relief, the trial court held that the statutes of limitations and repose barred Plaintiffs’ claims for nuisance and negligent construction of a levee, that Plaintiffs did not prove certain elements of their claims for negligence or willful and wanton conduct, and that no civil conspiracy existed; the court granted summary judgment to Defendants. Plaintiffs appeal. Upon review, we reverse the grant of summary judgment with respect to the nuisance and negligence claims, and remand the case for further proceedings; we affirm the judgment with respect to the civil conspiracy claim.

Obion County Court of Appeals 04/05/19
Randell Sexton v. David Hart, Et Al.
M2018-01537-COA-R3-CV
Authoring Judge: Judge Thomas R. Frierson, II
Trial Court Judge: Chancellor Ellen Hobbs Lyle

The pro se appellant, a state inmate, filed a petition for a writ of mandamus in the Davidson County Chancery Court (“trial court”). Averring that correction facility officials had wrongfully withheld back pay due to him for thirty-seven days of work he missed in his prison employment program pending his ultimately successful appeal of a disciplinary action, the petitioner requested that the trial court direct prison officials to tender $1,475.37 in back pay plus interest. The prison officials, represented by the Tennessee Attorney General’s office, filed a motion to dismiss, asserting that the petitioner had waived this action in the trial court by previously filing a claim with the Division of Claims Administration (now known as the Division of Claims and Risk Management) and that the petitioner was not entitled to back pay under the applicable program procedures. In an order entered upon the pleadings, the trial court dismissed the petitioner’s action upon finding that the applicable procedures did not entitle the petitioner to back pay. The petitioner then filed a motion to alter or amend the judgment, which the trial court denied. The petitioner has appealed. Having determined that the trial court lacked subject matter jurisdiction over this action, we vacate the trial court’s order and dismiss this case.   

Davidson County Court of Appeals 04/04/19
Bruce Milton Miller v. Lucinda Miller Miller
E2018-01058-COA-R3-CV
Authoring Judge: Judge D. Michael Swiney, C.J.
Trial Court Judge: Judge E.G. Moody

Bruce Milton Miller (“Husband”) and Lucinda Miller Miller (“Wife”) were divorced in December of 2017. The parties entered into a Mediation Agreement, a Marital Dissolution Agreement (“MDA”), and a Permanent Parenting Plan in connection with the divorce. In February of 2018, Husband filed a Rule 60 motion seeking to reform the parties’ MDA. The Trial Court entered its order on May 24, 2018, reforming the MDA based upon mutual mistake and awarding retroactive child support. Wife appeals to this Court raising issues regarding the reformation of the MDA and the amount of retroactive child support awarded. We find and hold that no proof was presented of a mutual mistake, and therefore, the Trial Court erred in reforming the MDA. We further find and hold that Wife waived her issue as to retroactive child support. We, therefore, vacate that portion of the Trial Court’s May 24, 2018 order reforming the MDA and affirm the portion awarding retroactive child support.

Sullivan County Court of Appeals 04/04/19
Edward Harper v. Shelby County Schools
W2018-01100-COA-R3-CV
Authoring Judge: Judge Arnold B. Goldin
Trial Court Judge: Chancellor JoeDae L. Jenkins

This is a case arising out of the Teacher Tenure Act. A tenured middle school teacher sought review of a decision of the board of education upholding his termination for inefficiency, incompetence, and neglect of duty. The chancery court affirmed the board’s decision, sustaining the teacher’s termination. Teacher appealed to this Court. We reverse the chancery court’s findings with respect to neglect of duty. However, we affirm the chancery court’s findings with respect to inefficiency and incompetence, and thereby affirm the teacher’s termination.

Shelby County Court of Appeals 04/01/19
Deborah Lacy v. Vanderbilt University Medical Center, Et Al.
M2018-00832-COA-R3-CV
Authoring Judge: Judge Kenny Armstrong
Trial Court Judge: Judge Thomas W. Brothers

The trial court held that Appellant failed to meet her burden to prove her claims of assault and battery. Appellant appealed. Due to the deficiencies in Appellant’s appellate brief, we do not reach Appellant’s substantive issues and dismiss the appeal.  

Davidson County Court of Appeals 04/01/19
Evangeline Webb, et al. v. AMISUB (SFH), Inc.
W2017-02539-COA-R3-CV
Authoring Judge: Presiding Judge Frank G. Clement, Jr.
Trial Court Judge: Judge Robert Samual Weiss

This appeal arises from a re-filed health care liability action brought by the wife of a hospital patient, individually and on behalf of her now-deceased husband, against the hospital. In the first action, the plaintiffs attempted to rely on the 120-day extension to the statute of limitations provided by Tenn. Code Ann. § 29-26-121, which also required the plaintiffs to provide a HIPAA-compliant medical authorization to potential defendants. The complaint asserted that one of the hospital’s doctors and four of its nurses were negligent in treating the husband in the hospital’s emergency department on July 26, 2009, and that the hospital was vicariously liable. The doctor and nurses, but not Saint Francis, successfully moved for summary judgment based on the plaintiffs’ failure to comply with § 121. On interlocutory appeal, the plaintiffs challenged the constitutionality of § 121’s pre-suit notice requirement. This court affirmed the trial court’s determinations that § 121 was constitutional, was not preempted by HIPAA, and did not violate the equal protection and due process provisions of state and federal law. Accordingly, this court affirmed the dismissal of the claims against the doctor and nurses. Because the claims against the hospital remained, we remanded the case for further proceedings. The plaintiffs voluntarily dismissed the first complaint against the hospital in April 2016. Eight months later, the plaintiffs sent the hospital a new pre-suit notice and medical authorization. Sixty-four days after that, the plaintiffs filed their second complaint against the hospital. The hospital moved to dismiss, asserting the second complaint was timebarred because the plaintiffs failed to provide a HIPAA-compliant medical authorization in the first action and, thus, the 120-day extension was not available and the original complaint was time-barred. The plaintiffs responded by asserting that a HIPAAcompliant medical authorization is unnecessary to obtain the 120-day extension and challenging the constitutionality of § 121, including a challenge based on the right to privacy in medical information. The trial court found that § 121 requires a HIPAAcompliant medical authorization before the 120-day extension applies, the law of the case doctrine barred the plaintiffs from re-litigating all constitutional challenges except that based on the right of privacy, and the right to privacy was not implicated. Based on these findings, the trial court dismissed the second complaint as time-barred. This appeal followed. We affirm.

Shelby County Court of Appeals 03/29/19
In Re A.P.
M2017-00289-COA-R3-PT
Authoring Judge: Presiding Judge J. Steven Stafford
Trial Court Judge: Judge Sheila Calloway

Mother appeals the trial court’s order terminating her parental rights as to her minor child. Because we conclude that the trial court erred in allowing Mother’s counsel to withdraw the morning of trial, without considering whether Mother had notice of the withdrawal, we vacate the trial court’s order and remand for a new trial.

Davidson County Court of Appeals 03/29/19